Growing up as a child, I prayed for wisdom. Inspired by biblical Solomon the Wise, it appeared to me that wisdom was the worthiest gift from God.
Deep within me, something agreed that the pursuit of wisdom surpasses everything. Because Solomon’s wisdom came as a gift from God, in the back of my mind, my wisdom would also come as a gift. God somehow listens from heaven, and if the prayer is sincere He answers by miraculously bestowing on the person the gift of wisdom.
A gift requires no work and no effort though. Or so I had thought. But that soon changed. For some time I felt no different. It was as if God had ignored my prayer. With failure came doubt and a sense of loss. But this was exactly what I needed. With my bubble burst and my self-worth compromised, I started questioning, and with introspection came the realization that perhaps wisdom is not a gift. After what seemed like eons searching for answers around the nature of wisdom, it dawned on me: wisdom comes at a price—it requires knowledge. Yes, the foremost ingredient for wisdom is knowledge. Gaining knowledge however, requires work— lots of it.
My sights firmly set on wisdom, I set out to acquire knowledge. This proved harder than anticipated. Knowledge, I found, is gained through inquiry, discovery, science, philosophy, mathematics, sensory perception, experiment, and evidence. Knowledge needs to be reliable, testable and corroborated. It requires reason and logic. Knowledge also changes with time. It self-corrects and improves in the face of new discoveries. The search for knowledge demands that one relies on the finds of others. No one person can achieve all there is to know on his or her own. To be certain that the claims of others are true, and to ensure one is not taken for a ride, the knowledge of others must be scrutinized.
Yet, when it comes to spiritual matters, the church expects its faithful to choose faith. Rather than empiric knowledge, experiment, and evidence, people must opt for faith when submitting to a religion. Because religion is unchanging and infallible, they are taught not to question. The holy books—the blueprint of most religions—are written by people inspired by the Holy Spirit, and the writings therefore are not open to human challenge. No matter how plausible or convincing the doctrine, and no matter what evidence comes to light, no matter the rhyme or reason, where logic should prevail, the faithful must close ranks and defend their religion from challenge. Once a believer falls into this trap, just about everything becomes an article of faith. How to change this irrational approach?
Wisdom, for me, is applied knowledge. As with Solomon, God bestows wisdom on those who earnestly seek knowledge. Knowledge yields insight, and through application, hopefully wisdom.
My name is Izak Botha and I seek wisdom.
Welcome to my blog.